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The Truth About Milk Nutrition: Almond, Rice and Oat Milk Alternatives

Updated on January 9, 2014

Milk nutrition has been glorified in the media for many years. There was a time when milk was good for you, but times have changed. A number of unhealthy side effects have been associated with milk consumption. Several doctors have reported finding various symptoms associated with milk consumption which include fatigue, mental fog, joint pain, digestive problems and skin conditions.

Cow’s milk goes through several processes that deplete its nutritional value before it goes to market. Health regulations require that milk undergo a pasteurization or heating process to kill disease causing bacteria. Unfortunately, this process alters the protein structure, which effects nutritional value and absorption. It also destroys many important enzymes including lactase which is essential for lactose absorption. Indigestible lactose is the reason for lactose intolerance in so many individuals.

Ultra pasteurization, or ultra high heating,which is used to extend shelf life, damages milk nutrition even further. Homogenization is a process used to prevent separation of milk and cream and to extend shelf life. This process shrinks the fat globules, allowing the enzyme xanthine oxidase to escape into the blood stream where it has been found to comprise heart health over time.

Cow’s milk is loaded with a variety of hormones which can affect hormone balance in humans. Cows live in a stressed condition due to disease, infections and over-milking, causing the overproduction of cortisol in the blood. Drinking milk with high cortisol levels leads to increased stress levels in humans. The growth hormone rBGH which is used to increase milk production has been linked to colon, prostate and breast cancer. Suprisingly, there is an allowance for pus content in milk.

Unfortunately, the amount found in milk is far above the allowance. At present levels pus has a direct link to an unhealthy strain of bacteria and Crohn’s disease. Due to limited space, cows are confined to small areas, allowing disease and infections to spread rapidly, making the use of antibiotics necessary.

Eighty five different drugs are used and only four are regulated, allowing eighty one of those drugs to end up in your glass of milk. Overexposure to antibiotics has been found to lead to antibiotic resistant bacteria and allergies. The most common allergy among children is cow’s milk. Accompanying symptoms include digestive problems, eczema and asthma.

Milk has always been considered a good source of calcium. However, this may not be the case. It is believed by some experts that the high phosphorus content in milk tends to promote calcium loss. The increase in de-fatted milk sales adds to the problem because vitamin A and D are fat-soluble nutrients which are needed for calcium absorption.

There are several healthy options that can replace milk. Non-dairy milk alternatives include: Almond milk - this is an excellent replacement for milk if it is organic and contains fiber and calcium. Rice and oat milk can be found in many supermarkets because of their popularity. Another options is hemp milk.


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    • profile image

      Emily S. 6 years ago


      Thank you for the informative article. Not sure if you are still actively answering comments on this hub, but I am wondering if you can point me in the direction of your source for the information that drinking milk with high cortisol levels leads to increased stress in humans. I am very curious about this and would love to look at a study!

      Thank you so much.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 6 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Cow's milk is for calves. Period. I drank my last glass of milk when I was seven years old because my dad made me drink it under protest. I promptly threw it up all over him, and he never made me drink it again! I'm lactose intolerant, but just hated the taste.

      Now, I'm vegan, and I consume both almond "milk" and rice "milk." (I don't like the taste or color of soy "milk.")The vanilla version of almond milk is great with my morning oatmeal. My adult son, who recently came to live with me, has adapted well to the usual contents of my frig, and he actually likes drinking glasses of both rice and almond "milk", as well as pouring it over cereal. Thanks for promoting the alternatives to "moo juice." Jaye

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 7 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comment d. william and thanks for stopping by!

    • d.william profile image

      d.william 7 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      Wow, you are certainly well informed. When milk started tasting 'different' to me is when i starting the research and found out what you are saying is truth. It also is believed by some people that this modified milk product is one of the major contributors to the increase of autism in children in this country. I maintain what has taken millions of years to accomplish (the perfect symbiotic relationship between our bodies and the foods we eat) are being undermined by all this genetic modification and is throwing that symbiosis out of synchronization at the genetic level, which in turn is creating new genetic based diseases that we will find there is no known cure for. All this chaos for the almighty dollar. Greed will be the ruination of all of us. My favorite substitute for milk now is SOY vanilla flavored almond milk. Wonderful. I will enjoy it until they manage to screw that up as well.

    • Galadriel Arwen profile image

      Galadriel Arwen 7 years ago from USA

      Very interesting article and another reason that we need to beware and be wise when it comes to what we do with our own nutrition! Thanks!

    • Chantal America profile image

      Chantal America 7 years ago from USA

      What helpful info. I know any time I drink milk, I have major digestive issues. My body naturally wants to stay away from it, even ice cream. Now I have a much clearer picture why it is so unsettling. Sounds like organic milk might be a nice option. I will check it out. Thanks again!

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 7 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Very informative article and interesting. God Bless You.

    • gramon1 profile image

      Guillermo Ramon 8 years ago from Miami

      I am a 54 year old active karate player. I drink about 1/2 gallon per day of organic milk. Additionally, I drink some whey shakes. I mix the whey powder with milk too. Lately, I had gained too much weight and have stopped the shakes. But I have continue drinking almost 1/2 gallon of milk per day. Drinking so much milk, I still have lost 16 bl in 14 days. I don't beleive 2% milk will get any one fat. I am blogging my diet in a hub called "My Sweet Diet". Any way, I do think I get priotein from the milk. Milk is a very large source in my nutrition. At 54, I still punch 7.3 punches per second (measured as 73 punches in 10 seconds). I have the strength, endurance, and speed of a person more than 20 years younger than I am. I believe that a diet very high on sugar, milk, and eggs has helped my maintain the stamina and speed. I could be wrong. But I do feel nourished after drinking milk.

    • profile image

      liminal 8 years ago

      Interesting. I used to drink a lot of cow's milk but now I drink soy milk instead. Hopefully that's a safer alternative?!

    • The Good Cook profile image

      The Good Cook 8 years ago

      I have been using soy milk for some time now. As I understand it, soy products are quite safe if not consumed in excess - and the cancer link is tenuous. Let's face it, we are all at risk as far as the big C word is concerned, and over the years just about everything we eat and drink has come under suspicion - chicken, fish and oranges are three that I can clearly remember. When we don't even have unpolluted, non-cancer causing air to breathe why worry about a little bit of soy milk?

    • Cheetahrising profile image

      Cheetahrising 8 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      We haven't drank cow milk for nearly a decade now...thanks for sharing this much need information.

    • girly_girl09 profile image

      girly_girl09 8 years ago from United States

      Great article. I never had milk as a child because my father was always one of the few, rare, people out there who believed it wasn't that good for you. I drink soy milk and almond milk. (Almond milk is the BEST on cereal!)

      Now that I'm in my 20's, I can't seem to digest milk very well whenever I have it and wonder if it's because my body didn't get a lot of it growing up.

      Anyways, my point is, I grew up with barely any milk (probably 3 or 4 times a year at birthday parties with cake) and I grew up very healthy; I got plenty of calcium and nutrients in other places.

    • stevemark122000 profile image

      stevemark122000 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comment Everyday Miracles!

      Ideally milk should have many health benefits. If you really like milk choose organic milk. Many supermarkets carry it now, and it is affordable. Soy milk is controversial because it has been linked to the formation of breast cysts. A safer choice would be almond or rice milk which both taste great.

    • Everyday Miracles profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 8 years ago from Indiana, USA

      Okay... Wait. I'm confused.

      Aren't there advertisements on television saying that diary can help us to weigh less if it's consumed in moderation? But if it raises cortosol levels, doesn't that cause us to *gain* weight? I'm really confused now.

      I love milk but have been drinking less and less of it due to how it makes me feel. The less I get the better my GERD gets it seems. When I start back on milk back comes the GERD. I also have dark circles under my eyes that my doctors have associated with lactose. Same thing with my daughter.

      What about soy? I LOVE soy milk!

    • eovery profile image

      eovery 8 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      I think someone should developa cereal with powder milk already in it, so we just had to add water.

      Or a cereal that worked with water.  This would be great.  I works for cereal bars.

      But I miss my creamy milk, meoooowwww!

      Keed on Hubbing.

    • MindField profile image

      MindField 8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      When I see beautiful dairy cows overcrowded into filthy enclosures - no grass, just piles of mud and muck - it breaks my heart. That situation is very common in California, and probably plenty of other places as well.

      My paternal grandfather was a dairy farmer in Tillamook, Oregon, where the cows are, I believe, still free to wander in gorgeous green fields and are only in the barn to be milked or during inclement weather.

      Both the animals and we pay the price for horrid and cruel industrial farming practices. Sadly, most of us cannot afford organic, unpasteurized milk, whether from goats or cows. And nut milk is very expensive, too. Soy would be an okay substitute if I weren't allergic to it.

      Too bad water isn't more tasty on cereal.

    • gpetrou85 profile image

      gpetrou85 8 years ago from greece

      very nice,good hub.

    • profile image

      DjBryle Works 8 years ago

      Informative! Thanks for sharing =)

    • hot dorkage profile image

      hot dorkage 8 years ago from Oregon, USA

      I wish raw milk was affordable and truly safe. Milk production is one of those processes (kinda like cooking) that really doesn't scale. People rarely get poisoned from their own home cooking, yet most home kitchens aren't up to commercial standards. I think that in order to get real milk, I'll have to chip in for a cow and house it somewhere where there's a green pasture.

    • ocbill profile image

      ocbill 8 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      certified organic will be my focus now. Gee, and I had just switched to non-fat at TJ's.

    • eovery profile image

      eovery 8 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      Thank you,

      I was raised on a ranch on fresh milk. Milk in stores is a lot different these days.

      Keep on Hubbing.

    • artrush73 profile image

      artrush73 8 years ago

      Very nice info. Your absolutely right. I think it would be healthier to drink a mix of water with chock, then milk that sold in the stores. Milk supposed to be good for you for your bones. The vitamin D.

    • RooBee profile image

      RooBee 8 years ago from Here

      Thank you for this! There are a number of people I'll be directing to read this hub.